Sunday, 23 July 2017

Digitising Indian Agriculture - ICT / IOT role in Agriculture - Part 2

ICT / IOT role in Indian Agriculture - Part 2
Some more applications

We talked about how data alone is not going to help and we need analytics on top of the data to get actionable intelligence in our previous blog. We saw two applications of IOT / ICT , namely micro weather station and Greenhouse monitoring.

We are going to talk more applications of IOT / ICT in agriculture. So continuing from where we left

3. Warehouse and Cold chain monitoring
The definition of a cold-chain is "A cold chain is uninterrupted series of storage,
production, logistic and transport while maintaining a desired low temperature range which is necessary to preserve and maintain the shelf life of products like agriculture produce, sea food, frozen food, pharmaceutical products and medicine, chemicals and other products which if not preserved using cooling will get deteriorate from their quality standards".

A large part of agriculture produce is stored to meet future demand and to keep it safe from changing weather patterns and diseases. The table below shows temperature and humidity ranges for  products which are stored in cold storage.

ProduceMin temperatureMax temperatureHumidity
Onion0 and 254 and 3155 - 65%
Banana131485 - 90%
Mango111885 - 90%
Grape-1185 -90%

There are products that don't require cold chain to storage but they also need to be protected from the elements and kept under a controlled climate, e.g. rice and wheat. There is definitely an impact of environmental conditions on every produce.

As per Government of India (GOI) , The harvest and post harvest losses run to the tune of Loss of INR 92, 651 Crores (more than 14 Billion US dollars). Most of post harvest losses happen due to lack of monitoring infrastructure. There is no easy and cost effective way to monitor what is happening inside cold storage. We do not have enough cold storage with climate control facilities. Problem is that losses at post harvest and storage stage are much sever than at the production stage.

You can read more at this link to know the percentage breakup of crops in the post-harvest losses.
Yuktix coldsense device 

Yuktix provides an efficient and reliable cold storage and warehouse monitoring solution under the “COLDSENSE” brand. Yuktix provides wireless sensor nodes (Temperature, humidity and gases), Solar powered and grid powered gateway with edge software and Yuktix sensorDB product to store and analyse the data. You can easily monitor warehouse internal environment data from anywhere using our wireless sensors and gateway. You can download and analyse the data using sensorDB. You can do continuous 24x7 monitoring of product storage conditions.

For example red chili should be stored between 6 degree - 8 degree Celsius. Few days deviation might not effect the quality but if deviation continues for few weeks or a month, it can result in quality reduction and hence export worthiness of the chili. Yuktix COLDSENSE allow you to set alerts using SensorDB and alerts are send to you on SMS or email as soon as a sensor reports deviation from the prescribed range .

SMS based Alert
The cold sense data can be used for thermodynamic modelling of the warehouse which can then help improve the cooling efficiency and reduce the power bill of the cooling tower. That saving of power on cooling towers leads to direct savings (ROI) for the warehouse operators.

We will discuss the Yuktix Cold sense product in a different blog. How cold sense is helping agriculture companies in monitoring their produce in warehouses in order to assure quality checks as well as improve the efficiency of the operations.

4. Farm and livestock monitoring :

About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood which contribute to 16% of the income of small farms household income. It provides employment to 8.8%  of the population in India. IOT/ ICT can play an important role in two ways when it comes to farm and livestock Monitoring.

  • You can monitor health, track real time location, monitor reproductive cycles and calving, maximise milking using IOT.  IOT can be used in after produce of livestock e.g. dairy monitoring. Stellapps, one of the India startup provide solution for livestock monitoring and diary monitoring.
  • You can use ICT to produce organic fodder in a environment controlled hydroponics chamber. You can easily monitor the internal environment, tweak it to come in the range that is most suitable for fast growth of the fodder. ICAR Goa is conducting such experiment. There are some other companies like Hydroponics Kenya , HITECH , FodderTech, Soybean-sprouter

5. Remote Irrigation Control - Without sensor and with Sensor based feedback

Irrigation is one of the most important aspect of agriculture and with climate changes and shrinking water tables, it is going to play a very important role in the future. The irrigation is directly related to the water conservation. If we can do smart irrigation then we can save water.

Yet another example is remote control of irrigation pumps. . Most of the farmers live quite far away from the field and they have to reach the field to turn ON/OFF the motors at odd hours i.e. late in the night and early in the morning. This difficult chore can be automated using ICT/IoT using a mobile phone or sensor feedback based system.

  • Mobile phone based control -Mobile phone based control -– You can call the number and press a button and , your pump would turn ON / OFF depending on the settings. You can control one motor or multiple motor with the same device. One of the well know India company working in this area is KISAN RAJA. Some others are Flybirdinnovation , Avanijal.
  • Sensor based automatic control of the irrigation line -   An automatic version of the previous solution  can be done by measuring the soil moisture with the help of conductance based soil moisture sensors. You then start the irrigation pumps depending on the actual soil moisture conditions. Some companies which are active in this are Corpx, FarmX, Farmobile, Edyn, Hortau, tevatronic, Aquaspy.

    You can irrigate a wide area with just using a single pump and drip irrigation. Such solutions are very effective where there is a water shortage for the crops that need very accurate irrigation like Banana or cotton plants. Using latest communication technologies like LORA or Sigfox , a big and large network of wireless soil moisture sensors can be deployed over a wide area and water supply can be made to specific areas depending on the real time irrigation requirements, thus optimising the usage of precious resource.

    In Gulf countries like Qatar or Saudi Arabia where there is an acute shortage of water, such solutions can prove to be very useful. Here is demonstration of how Yuktix Sensor based irrigation solution can be deployed over a large area using our different IP blocks like Yuktix LORA based soil moisture sensors, Yuktix Weather Station, Yuktix Solar powered gateway and Yuktix SensorDB  

That's all for now folks. Stay tuned for next instalment in our agriculture series. Next we will discuss  

6. NDVI imaging using Drones AgribotixTatransense 
7. Weather based Agriculture disease predictionYuktix Technologies 
8. Plantation Dashboard - Yuktix Plantation dashboard that combines many of above Yuktix solutions together in a one single product.

Happy Farming.

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